Nerf wars spark reports of stalking and dangerous driving


The Grand Rapids Police Department is encouraging parents to educate their teenagers about Nerf wars in terms of safety.

The department has received reports of teenagers entering stores with Nerf guns and stalking other students, as well as reports of dangerous driving, according to a Facebook post by Itasca County Attorney John Muhar.

“We do not believe that these young people have any intent to cause harm in our community, but the police department is very concerned about safety," Grand Rapids Police Sergeant Robert Stein said, according to the post. "Often the participants move about in vehicles, hunting each other."

There has already been an accident as a result of the game in Grand Rapids, therefore the police department is taking a zero-tolerance stance on traffic violations.

“If you are playing this game in a motor vehicle and driving in a manner that potentially endangers someone you will receive a ticket,” Grand Rapids Assistant Police Chief Steve Schaar said.

What's a Nerf war?

In Nerf wars (sometimes called “assassins”), teams of students shoot foam darts from toy guns to “kill” opponents on other teams in an effort to win prize money, Northland’s NewsCenter reported last year.

The Chaska Police Department described the game as having "a rather sophisticated method of 'score keeping'" utilizing wrist bands and social media. Sometimes the game allows the capture and abduction of an opponent, according to the department's Facebook post.

Here are this year's rules and regulations for the Nerf war in Bemidji:

More warnings in Chaska

The Chaska Police Department is also warning high schoolers about the dangers of playing the game, Chief Scott Knight wrote in an editorial published in the Chaska Herald. Police have received reports of unwanted home entry, fights, curfew complaints, reckless driving and car accidents.

More that 222 kids in Chaska have signed up to participate, the editorial says, and Knight says illegal behavior will not be tolerated.

The Chaska Police Department does not condone and strongly discourages Nerf wars, according to their Facebook post.

"On the surface, it seems like a fun game, but the consequences can be serious and life altering," police wrote.

Last year, police departments in Duluth and Hermantown also gave warnings to teens about the game.

In December, two Lakeville teens died in a car accident during a Nerf war.

Taking to Twitter

Many groups of teens keep track of their Nerf wars through Twitter. Current accounts include the Cloquet, Esko and Carleton area, Burnsville, West Duluth,Bemidji, Itasca and Blaine.

Nerf war organizers in Blaine are warning their players to be careful while driving via Twitter:

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